Many people get behind the wheel of a car and suddenly find themselves dealing with anger problems they never normally exhibit. What causes people to struggle with road rage, and why does it affect some people who are otherwise very relaxed? Let’s take a look.
What Causes Road Rage?
The main thing that causes road rage is when someone in traffic cuts you off or otherwise wrongs you. Maybe someone jumps their turn at a stop sign, or gets into your lane and then slows down tremendously. In these scenarios, you might find yourself getting angry at the person, even considering ways to retaliate against them for the perceived disrespect.
Psychologists agree that the word “disrespect” is at the core of almost all instances of road rage. People feel slighted by the actions of other drivers, and this boils over into anger. In these scenarios, it can be hard to reason with someone experiencing road rage, as they feel as though they’ve been personally wronged.
Addressing Road Rage
When you feel your anger rising in traffic, consider the ways you can address the problem without causing any further disturbances in traffic. There’s no reason to try to retaliate against the person who you feel slighted you. Even something “mild,” like yelling or gesturing at them, could set them off into their own spiral of road rage.
Instead of getting “even,” try to just return to a normal traffic pattern. If they pulled out in front of you, try to get back ahead of them so you can resume your normal traveling speed. If they cut in line at a stop sign, just take a deep breath and let it go. Being a few minutes later to your destination is frustrating, but not worth fighting over.
Some General Tips
If you struggle with road rage, try a few simple tips before you resort to visiting a therapist for anger management. For starters, try listening to calmer, downtempo music in the car. This can help prevent your heart rate from getting up in tense situations.
You could also consider trying to leave for your destination earlier, working in a few extra minutes so that you’re not in a huge hurry on the road. A leisurely pace makes it harder to get frustrated about minor inconsistencies in traffic patterns. In general, just try to take deep, even breaths if you feel your anger rising behind the wheel, and don’t lash out at those around you just because you’re feeling upset.